Monday, February 18, 2008

Omakase @ Sushi Dokoro Maeshima, Front Entrance Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Sushi Dokoro Maeshima

This year round, we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day a bit later i.e the day after. I'm not a fan for the commercially over-priced set meals during the "day of romance" and prefer, if the money was better spent on great food instead.

Two fat oysters to savour

We took a gamble on this place, which came highly recommended. A real hole in the wall restaurant, it is how I like my Japanese restaurants to be - tiny, smoky, no frills, with tatami rooms and most importantly full of Japanese customers. My belief when it comes to any cuisine, it must be good enough for the locals to eat there i.e. if you're in Australia, I'm sure you will have more confidence with a Chinese restaurant filled with Chinese people?

Assorted sashimi platter decorated with a sprig of peach blossom

I've read about this place's amazing Omakase (i.e chef's choice, where you pay a fixed prixe per person and they serve you, course by course of their best and freshest) from the latest issue of Klue magazine. Since the description, perked my curiosity, I knew what I wanted to try here.

Grilled Buri Fish

A quick check with the restaurant indicated that Omakase was recommended on Tuesday and Friday, when the fish was the freshest, since those are the days they arrive airflown from Japan. We booked a table for Friday night, in the hope that we will manage to brave the down town traffic and the roadblocks. Communication over the phone, wasn't too good as most of the waitresses don't seem to speak English very do be extra careful. It was quite weird as they cancelled my booking but when I called them to tell them I would be late, they gave me back my booking. Sigh! It would have been diastrous if I had lost my booking.

Assorted tempura

It took us a while to figure out Federal Hotel since we haven't been for ages plus we had used the back entrance versus the front. Finally located the place which is near to Yi Qi. It's much easier if you come from the front entrance. The restaurant is not managed by the hotel, but occupies a small space at the hotel's arcade area.

Simmered whale's tongue

Once we kicked off our shoes, settled in comfortably at our tatami room, it was all systems go! I reckon it must have been hectic, before we arrived as we saw groups of Japanese men leaving, when we stepped in our tatami room. Omakase seems to be the "in" thing here as everyone had the same stuff on their tables.

Vinegered vegetables with wasabi

We started off with oysters served in a pretty bowl resembling an oyster shell. On the surface, it looked like a single flat oyster. I dug in with my chopsticks and found 2 juicy and fat oysters. Incredibly fresh, they tasted so good with the soy sauce topped with spring onions and a mix of shredded daikon radish and chili.

Nigiri sushi platter

Food arrives pretty quickly once you complete the course. Next was our sashimi platter - two pieces of melt in the mouth toro (tuna belly), two different parts of hamachi (yellow tail) and octopus (tako). I really enjoyed the thickly cut toro with soy sauce and the red cress. By the way, I'm not too good with identifying the fish so it could have been kanpachi versus hamachi. Sigh! do advise and I'll amend accordingly.

Hamachi sushi

Next it was a plate of grilled fish, which we have not seen before. A quick check with the waitress confirmed it was called Buri, a type of yellowtail fish. We ate with grated daikon radish with soy sauce and ginger. Juicy and moist, I liked the fresh taste of it with the grated daikon radish.

Tai (sea bream) sushi

I liked how everything was served really quickly once we finished each course. Next was an ordinary looking assorted tempura - eggplant, lotus, Japanese green pepper and a type of fish, which I could not name. It had the soft texture of oyster, with no fishy smell. Nice stuff and I was glad they gave two pieces. The lotus was very different - thickly sliced and much more substantial, I felt than the local varieties.

Anago (sea eel) sushi

By this time, I was feeling pretty well satisfied so I was astonished to see bowls of thick slices of what looked like fat pork belly. We quickly asked the waitress and she indicated it was tongue but we had no idea what animal. After a few hand gestures, we figured out it was whale (saezuri in Japanese)! Very politically incorrect but we had told them, we were game for anything so we decided to try it. The texture is quite fat and slightly chewy. A bit tasteless, it had to be dipped in soy sauce. Wouldn't say I liked it a lot but it was definitely an eye opener.

Uni (sea urchin) sushi

To accompany our weird dish, we were presented with a pretty flowered plate topped with a mix of vinegared vegetables. It had a refreshing taste with a tinge of wasabi at the end for extra kick.

Matcha ice cream with red beans

Finally, it was the nigiri sushi platter with a bowl of akadashi soup. The platter was huge and the fish was sliced so thick, they literally covered the rice that at one glance, you would not have figured it was nigiri sushi.

It was a selection of toro (again! but I wasn't complaining), uni wrapped with seaweed (gunkan or battleship sushi style), anago (a type of sea eel), hamachi (yellowtail), tai (sea bream) and kobada(spotted sardine). Everything tasted so good but my favourites were the uni (so rich tasting) and the toro. I also liked the anago as it wasn't as sweet as unagi and the flesh was also softer. Sadly all good things had to end, so it was the last course - matcha ice cream served with red bean. I love the square bowl it was served in - very pretty

I had a quick peek at the menu and wouldn't mind returning to try the other items - kobe beef, tea rice, sashimi, sushi, menrui (noodles) and etc.

Sushi Dokoro Maeshima
Arcade One
Front entrance
Federal Hotel
No. 35, Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03 - 2144 6909

(Pork free. Open from 6pm to 11pm from Monday to Saturday. Fish arrives from Japan on Tuesday and Friday. Book ahead as it gets packed during those days. 2 tatami rooms available. Omakase is priced at RM230++ per pax.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Precious Pea said...

Aiyerrrrr....luckily am getting my dose of Japanese food tomorrow. Been craving for Japs quite a while but can't find the time to go. Aiyerrrr...look at that beautiful sea urchin....*gulp*

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

ooohh...well u would definitely hav paid the same amt on valentines! looks like theres something worth going to in federal after my unfortunate experience in Yi Qi

ling239 said...

Simmered whale's tongue really looks like lard.... XD

JOjo said...

WOw~ Japanese food extravagant!!! But RM230+++ per pax??!! *shock* Whale tongue? Err...

But judging from the pic, it seemed to worth the price you paid especially if you can get tatami rooms.

Federal hotel reminded me of my friends kena robbed at the backlane, it was years ago when i was still in secondary sch.Hah!

choi yen said...

whale tongue really make me shock!!!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

This one ar, we gotta save up for a long while before the JFKA can venture into this place for the omakase. Or...we could all share one omakase and adjourn to the fried chicken wings place at alor after that. :-P

Seriously though, the food seems pretty unique and well worth the price.

Rarebeet said...

Wowowow look at all that glorious uni! This place looks fantastic! Wonder if this is the same restaurant that used to occupy the corner lot at the back of Federal Hotel. Whale tongue? Sounds like sea cucumber. Not fond of it. If we ever share a omakase between the 5 of us, you guys can have it all! :-)

Jackson said... much fresh raw fish!!! Im sure i can't take it...haha! I bet u enoy yr Valentines Dinner very much!

HairyBerry said...

you'll know it's good when natives dine here, i guess. never knew federal hotel was famous of its japanese fare though their buffet is quite a steal :) authenticity was there, especially when u mentioned the whale tongue...

daphne said...

the pictures will keep me holding till I head back for a proper jap meal....

Jason said...

Now that's a real authentic Japanese meal... I think not many people can accustom themselves with such unique omakase.

Valisa said...

OMG that looks fantastic!!! Drooling here. Another one going to my list of places to go eat when in KL. I am curious about the whale tongue - what does it taste like?
Agree with you on the go to where the Japanese go or the chinese go when you want to savour. an ethnic cuisine. I have recently discovered a place where authentic dim sum and chinese food served about 45 minutes drive from us. I was so happy I almost hugged the waitress the first time I was there. Jam packed with chinese - including those who don't speak chinese - hahahaha with CHINESE MENU! The first time I asked for it, the waitress even barked *you can read chinese meh?* hahahahaha.
Anyway I bet this resto is restoring Federal Hotel reputation as the place to be with such fabulous omakase menu! Can't even remember the last time I was there!
Happy belated CNY and Valentine's Day, B!

elb said...

This looks interesting! Reminds me of the whale I had back when I was at Norway. Hope you had a good time :)

Henry Yeo said...

is it your first omakase?
anyway, welcome to the club that eats endangered species. (there is shark fin on the menu somewhere in Hilton Iketeru)

Unknown said...

hmmm I'm curious about that tongue too, was it chewy? it looked like it was cut pretty thick...

yammylicious said...

Uni sushi~ everyone telling mii how great is this! but still i'm havent got a chance to try thm out yet! aww those fish sushi look FRESH~ slurp!

tanalan2 said...

Hmmm.....u really enjoy Japs food huh !!! Ever tried the Ala carte buffet at Rakuzen Chulan Square which they serve every Sunday afternoon ( not sure still on or not,last one was 2 yrs ago )!!!

Henry Yeo said...

you could even see the dots on the sea urchin, now that is fresh!

Chibog in Chief said...

oh my god!! these are real feast for the eyes!!! these japanese food look all yummy!!stunning photos you've made here :-)

Ping said...

The food looks really good, but I would like to implore all to reconsider and try not to order whale meat. If you have seen the operation of whale and dolphin fishing boats, you will understand.

Simon Seow said...

I can afford it if I go alone but if I bring a date it will be almost RM 500!!!

I like Uni Sushi my other favourite other than Ikura Sushi.

teckiee said...

what fish is the one with the sliver skin?

WanderLust said...

Damn! Always hope this place remain KL's best kept secret. Guess not anymore.

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